Ask the Dark by Henry Turner | Review

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Ask the Dark Book Cover
Ask the Dark Fiction, Young Adult, Crime Clarion Books 258 pages Amazon

Billy Zeets has a story to tell. About being a vandal and petty thief. About missing boys and an elusive killer. And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth. Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Billy Zeets is an unlikely hero. He is from the wrong side of the tracks, a thief, and a troublemaker. Although he is trying to be straight, temptation takes over as Billy learns his family is losing their home, and his depressed father will do nothing about it. Through a series of events, Billy finds himself in the middle of a series of teenage boy murders.

I wanted to like this book. I read the blurb and was instantly intrigued. However, only a chapter in, I knew I would struggle to finish it.

Ask the Dark is told from the perspective of Billy Zeets as he retells his story into a tape recorder. Turner writes Billy’s voice as uneducated and vernacular. I found this so off-putting and it didn’t feel natural to me.

Advertised as a mystery and thriller YA novel, I was expecting the usual twists and turns of any good mystery. Not in this book. There is no mystery, no false perpetrator, and not much thrill. As Billy gets caught up in solving the murders, he stumbles upon one man who he thinks (and turns out to be) the murderer. I felt that this whole story gave everything to readers and forget to leave in the mystery. Most of the events were lackluster except for a little thrill towards the end of the novel. I also didn’t feel like any of the characters developed throughout the story; they were very flat.

This was a novel that had great selling points but couldn’t deliver on them.

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